There are two kinds of snowmobile rides. There's the everyday ride where, because you're a sled junkie and there's nothing else you'd rather be doing, you're just out there getting your fix. It's essential. And then there are those rare rides where you go further, push yourself harder, time seems to stop and you're surprised to find that this sport you know so well suddenly feels brand new again. The limits of what is possible have been redrawn. These are the electrifying adventures that I live for. The ones that at quieter moments I catch my mind wandering back to.
It's a frigid -40 ºC with a bone chilling 20 kph north wind, a day that will challenge both us and our Ski-Doo Snowmobiles. While many hide indoors with vehicles with block heaters straining to fight the meeting of Celsius and Fahrenheit at -40, our minds were at ease. This adventure takes us to one of the “warmest” places in Northeastern Ontario, the acclaimed Post 392 Lodge.
We embark on our journey and are greeted by wide smooth trails with an abundance of fresh snow. The trails surrounding Timmins, Ontario provide some of the most unique experiences, it's unlike anywhere else in the world here. The City with the Heart of Gold is home to more than veins of precious metals, it has an exceptional trail network that connects to everything you would ever need and more. These snowmobile highways are one of the best ways to experience Timmins, we're riding beside and even under industrial mining operations and loving every second.
The cold hasn't bothered us one bit as we ride southwest on the Timmins Snowmobile club trail L22. We connect onto the TOP C and turn south cutting through a thick black spruce forest until it meets the hydro corridor. The towers appear endless reaching beyond the horizon. It isn't as flat here as compared to other 'Northern Ontario' trails – this corridor has hills, valleys, twists and turns galore.
Post 392 is located on Lake Kenogamissi which is part of the Mattagami River waterway and home to world class pickerel and pike fishing as well as fantastic boating. The lodge derives its name from hydro tower 'post' number 392. As we ride south towards the lodge I count the towers which are each numbered one by one growing increasingly excited to reach the front door, the -40 ºC temperature is starting to nip a bit.
Opening the door to the lodge we're greeted by a warm dry heat with aromas of delicious everything cooking. We take off our helmets and place them in the helmet box. Coats on hooks and boots on mats, we slip on a set of house slippers that are handmade. Marie pops out of the kitchen and we're greeted like old time friends, after-all we are. Everyone who comes to Post 392 is.
I've been coming to Post 392 for well over 15 years and a quick glance at the guest book confirms that I'm not the only snowmobiler who has found this northern Ontario oasis. I first ventured here with my father. I've brought countless friends and even my wife when we first got together. I'm thrilled at the thought of returning with her again on a future adventure.
With hot tea in hand we flop into the warm chesterfields and settle in for an old time friend conversation with Marie and Bill, her husband. We chat about the ice, the fishing, the trails and our lives—how this is the coldest day of the year so far and how much Kim and I have been looking forward to this adventure. The smell of the impending feast increases in intensity as does my anticipation. We've worked up quite an appetite today.
Meals are served family style—dishes of delicious goodness are passed around the table. We are joined by a group of 8 that have ridden over from New Liskeard to Post 392. Like us, they've been coming to the lodge for over a decade. Each rider has a different story to tell from a previous year which makes for great dinner conversation.
When I say delicious food, I mean it—escargot, roast chicken, stuffing, rice, pork chops, spaghetti , homemade bread, carrots and green pepper beef. We're kilometres deep in the bush, up until a few years ago there wasn't even a road to the lodge, and yet there's a feast fit for a king on the table–oasis, you bet!
I'm more of the meat and potatoes type so it's common for me to pass on dessert but not this time, a homemade brownie and piece of cake are too irresistible. We settle back to the suck-you-in seating with a night cap and gaze at the glowing flame of the fireplace.
Our room is in the main lodge which accommodates 16 and the stand alone cabin can host 11. Post 392 is open all year long and is the perfect destination for not only snowmobiling but fishing, hunting, atving and more. If you call ahead you can ride or boat-in for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
After a great night's sleep in the warm lodge we awake to the smell of bacon–does life get any better? Bacon, eggs, bread, sausage, potatoes and the best sticky buns you've ever had! We're all fuelled up after this meal and ready to hit the trails again!
I'm normally out the door and on my sled by 8:30am, however I find myself taking my time. I'm not quiet sure I want to leave. I want to do everything all over again. As we head out the door after a goodbye hug I think back to all the years I've been here and how each trip sticks with me. I know that this trip, just like the others will become a memory I will cherish. This experience encompasses everything snowmobiling and northern Ontario is. You have to plan your next adventure to Post 392, you can't miss out on these memories.
See you on the snow or maybe even at Post 392